Boston: Prosecutors and defense attorneys on today made their final appeals to the jurors who will decide the fate of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev: a sentence of life in prison or the death penalty.
The jury was expected to begin its deliberations later in the day after hearing from Tsarnaev's attorneys and the judge. Three people were killed and more than 260 injured when two bombs exploded near the marathon's finish line on April 15, 2013.
Tsarnaev, 21, was convicted by a federal jury last month of all 30 counts against him, including use of a weapon of mass destruction. The same jury must now decide his punishment.
Prosecutor Steve Mellin said Tsarnaev wanted to cause his victims as much physical pain as possible to make a political statement.
"Merely killing the person," Mellin said, "isn't nearly as terrifying as shredding them apart."
The prosecutor showed a large photograph of 8-year-old Martin Richard, who was killed in the attack, and other children standing on a metal barricade near where Tsarnaev placed his bomb. He showed another photo of bloodied victims on the sidewalk.
"This is what terrorism looks like," he said. Mellin said Tsarnaev showed no regret after the bombings, going to buy milk 20 minutes later.
"He acted like it was any other day," Mellin said. During the four-month trial, Tsarnaev's lawyers admitted he participated in the bombing, but told the jury he was "a good kid" who was led astray by his radicalized older brother Tamerlan, who wanted to punish the US for its actions in Muslim countries.
Tsarnaev's lawyers urged the jury to sentence Tsarnaev to life in prison, calling it the most appropriate punishment for someone who was 19 when he committed the crime. They said a life sentence would also help the families of his victims, who would not be subjected to the years of appeals and public attention that would almost certainly follow a death sentence.